Galaxy Hut: Come for the Music, Stay for the Beer

Galaxy Hut

Independents’ days: Look for live music on Sunday and Monday nights at Galaxy Hut. (enviziondotnet via Flickr)

Since I’ve mentioned Galaxy Hut a few times on this blog, I decided to venture to the Clarendon bar for a beer while waiting for the roads to clear of horrid Northern Virginia traffic, and I’m glad I did.

This storefront-sized bar can get pretty crowded without having an actual crowd, a craft beer-and-vegan paradox and a half. Speaking of which, there was one fool with silver shoes and suspenders sitting at the tiny bar who probably thanked God there was a place where he could be considered cool – or at least interesting, wafting on the fumes of a decaying culture. Epochs or peacocks, the place sported some honeys and guys with purposeful glasses, the PA blasting out the Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On” from the band’s 1989 effort “Automatic.” Talk about your epoch-defining song, the denouement of ’80s synth pop mixed with Brothers Reid post-punk coolness, and hooky as all get-out.

Speaking of hotties, one such girl, a cutie with a tiny metal stud in her nostril, actually smiled at me … probably because I was in her way while she walked back with her drink while I was in line to get mine. A boy can dream, can’t he?

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So eye candy, sure. Crowded, yes, by its very physical constitution it has to be – unless the place is lame. I had a Devils Backbone Vienna Lager for $4 during happy hour (daily, 5 p.m.-7 p.m.), well, four plus one equals five, unless you’re a cheap &!*$@%. It was OK. There is also an outdoor patio that I did not grace.

Galaxy Hut began life as Roratonga Rodeo in 1990, their site claiming it as the area’s first multi-tap beer bar. In 1993, the spot changed to its current name and started booking indie rock bands.

In 2005, Lary Hoffman took over and placed a reemphasis on craft beer. He also turned the menu mostly vegetarian; and what is vegetarian is also available in vegan.

Looking at the menu, you see a cheesesteak for $8.50, a mushroom melt for $8 and a BBQ sandwich for $8 as well. There is also chili, nachos, eggplant fries and hummus. And they say you can add tots or sweet potato fries to any entrée (I assume) for $1.50. That ain’t bad.

Meat lovers, don’t fret, as there are a few of those options as well (hot dog, beef chili, pork bacon). They are quick to add that “half of our vegetarian grilltop is completely vegan,” and that “our fryer is vegan, and contains peanut oil.”

OK, beer. As per their list on 4/9, do names like Bison Organic Honey Basil Ale ($8 a pint) or Smuttynose Brewing Co.’s Gravitation Belgian Quad ring a bell ($9 a pint)? Me neither, but at $9 a pint, that better be one great-sounding bell.

I’ve heard of one maker (other than the Devils Backbone Vienna Lager I quaffed) on the tap they list. But I don’t know much about craft beer. In bottles and cans they offer up more obscure brews but also recognizable names like Guinness Draught ($6), Yuengling Light ($4) and Natty Boh ($3.50).

There’s wine and soda too, but no hard liquor. Don’t worry, if you buy too many of these crafty brews, you won’t be able to afford cab fare home, let alone some pricey vodka or tequila specialty cocktail. Caveat: The beer menu appears to be updated quite regularly, so have a look-see now and again.

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The club only books music on Sunday and Monday nights, which kinda blows because most people have to get up the next day to get to work. Recent names on the bill include Pompeii Graffiti, the Mean Ideas and America Hearts. The venue typically shows indie rock (what a surprise!) and experimental … experimental these days should mean anything not indie rock, or what it’s come to be known as. But I’m sure Galaxy Hut means something different by experimental.

Show up one night and find out for yourself. Note: As mentioned, this club is small. How small? It has a capacity of 66 (plus the band), so make sure you get there early enough if you spy something you like on their calendar, or call ahead and see if you’ll have to; shows start at 9:30 p.m. and they try to end things by midnight. You have to be 21 to get in (unless you’re in the band). Open 5 p.m.-2 a.m. daily, Galaxy Hut has a full menu available until 11 p.m. Here’s their Facebook page.

If you rent an apartment in Clarendon, you can always walk here. If not, Galaxy Hut is located on Wilson Blvd. between the Clarendon and Court House stops on Metrorail’s Orange Line; it’s a little closer to the Clarendon stop than the Courthouse station but just barely. And if you and Little Nebula don’t see eye to eye, there’s plenty more to do on the strip.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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